The latest minutes reviewed by the committee

NSASW Social Justice Committee

Minutes – January 23, 2015

Present : Dominic Boyd; Sheila McKinnon-Oke; Annemieke Vink; Harold Beals

Regrets : Maggie Stewart; Debra Bourque; Robyn Smith; Blair Wilson and Sharon Murphy

1.       Child and Youth Mental Health Project  – A report, prepared by Dominic, summarizing the work of the Committee during the past year, was forwarded to the NSASW Council for their input and direction. This matter is on the agenda for the Council meeting on January 26 th and Council’s comments will be reported on at the next Committee meeting.

2.       Abusive Comments to NSASW Staff  – The President, Lorna Griffin-Fillier, prepared a letter to the membership reporting on the inappropriate and sometimes abusive language used by some members during the 2015 licencing renewal process leading up to the December 31 st deadline. The licencing renewal process was difficult this year due to the policy change in the deadline for licence renewals which put much stress on staff. Formerly, people had a grace-period of two months, but this was voted out by the membership at the 2014 AGM. There are still a number of people who have not renewed their licence for 2015. The letter was appropriate and reminded members that such language was not acceptable under our ethics and code of conduct. Responses to the Presidents letter were 99% positive and supportive of her statements. This incident reminded us that there should be a process to deal with negative comments to staff and the Executive Director has been asked to look into this.

3.       Lunch and Learn Events for Social Work Week  – The theme this year for Social Work Week is:  “Social Work: A Profession of Choice”.  We would like to stimulate discussion on this theme among the membership by arranging lunch and learn discussions in the various regions throughout the province. Dominic prepared a written response to the theme to assist in the discussion. We identified several regions around the province and suggested names of members who could be approached to help organize the discussions in their regions. South Shore – Blair Wilson; Amherst – Dominic Boyd; Annapolis Valley – Maggie Stewart; Antigonish – Nelda Armour; Halifax – Ezra Wexler; Cape Breton – Cathy MacDonald. Annemieke agreed to contact people for Truro, Antigonish, Cape Breton and Halifax. We need to find people for Yarmouth and Pictou areas.

We discussed ways in which we could engage members by asking key questions that can be used to help frame the discussion, for example: Describe how you chose to get into social work. How did social justice play a role in your decision? Describe how you employ choice in your current role as a social worker. How does social justice play a role now?

4.       Ethical Scenarios –  The Social Justice Committee has prepared five scenarios that we would like to present to the membership to stimulate thinking about ethical decision making and ask them to take part in a province-wide discussion forum on each scenario. At the last meeting we discussed the scenarios and wanted to ensure that the information in them was non-identifying. Sharon Murphy’s scenario was considered to be appropriate. At the moment we do not have a suitable forum that would be confidential and available to the membership only. A suitable discussion forum needs to be developed which is linked to the NSASW data base and Annemieke will look into this.

5.       Next meeting  – The next meeting of the Social Justice Committee is scheduled for Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm.

Minutes prepared by Harold Beals, RSW